The arrestation in the waters of the United States of the packet boat having citizen Fauchet on board; the search made in the trunks of that Minister, with the avowed object of seizing his person and pa. pers, merited the example. The insult was committed on the first of August. 1795, (0. S.) the ship all the rest of the month blocked up the Medusa frigate, belonging to the Republic, at Newport, and did not receive orders to depart till after the sailing of that vessel. For a new outrage on the United States by a menacing letter, the exe. quatur was withdrawn from the Consul, merely for having taken a part in the latter insult.

Third complaint. The treaty concluded in November, 1794, between the United States and Great Britain. It will be easy to prove that the United States in this treaty have knowingly and evidently sacrificed their connections with the Republic, and the most essential and least contested prerogatives of neutrality.

1st. The United States, besides baving departed from the principles established by the armed neutrality, during tise war for their independence, have given to England, to the detriment of their first allies, the most striking mark of an unbounded condescension, by abandoning the limit given to contraband by the law of nations, by their treaties with all other nations, and even by those of England with a greater part of the maritime Powers. Is it not evidently straying from the principles of neutrality to sacrifice exclusively to thatPower the objects proper for the equipment and construction of vessels ?

2d. They have gone still further. They have consented to extend the denomination of contraband even to provisions. Instead of pointing out particularly, as all treaties do, the cases of the effective blockade of a place, as alone forming an exception to the freedom of this article, they have tacitly acknowledged the pretensions raised by England to create blockades in our colonies, and even in France, by the force of a bare proclamation. This abandonment of the independence of their commerce is incompatible with their neutrality. Mr. Jeffer. son has himself acknowledged it in his letter of 7th September, to the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at London, on the subject of the order of 8th June, 1793. From this confession, especially from all the tyrannical edicts of the King of Great Britain, from which the commerce of the United States, as well as their national honor, have suffered so much, a result quite different was hoped from the negotiation of Mr. Jay. It is evident by the clause of the treaty limiting the existence of this desertion from the neutrality to the duration of the present war, that Mr. Jay did not hesitate to sacrifice our colonies to Great Britain during the remaining hostilities

which should decide their fate. Mr. Monroe is left to judge bow far - these concessions accord with the obligations contracted by the United

States, to defend our colonial possessions, and with the no less sacred duties imposed on them by the immense and invaluable benefits which they draw from their commerce with them. Paris, 19th Ventose, 4th year of the French Republic, The Minister for Foreign Affuirs.



No. 213.

[ocr errors]

[TRANSLATION.) The French Minister to the Secretary of State, Philadelphia, 9th Germia

nal, 4th year of the Republic, March 29, 1796, 0. 8. Sir: On the 7th Vindemiaire last, I had the honor of writing to you relative to the arrest of American vessels laden with provisions for France. I flattered myself with receiving from you an answer which might prove to my Government that the United States, faithful to the neutrality which they have imposed on themselves, neglect no means of repressing every infringement made on it by any of the belligerent parties to the detriment of its enemy.

Near six months ago, I sent a copy of my representation to my Government, and at the expiration of that term, I was under the necessity of informing it that I still expected a solution of this important object.

Now, sir, I complain upon, a point infinitely more essential, and which does not to me appear susceptible of delay: I mean the impressments exercised by the English on board of American vessels.

For some time each successive vessel arriving from the colonies, brings, in this respect, more frightful accounts than the former; and I have just received from the Vice Consul at Alexandria, a letter of 4th Germinal, relative to the impressment used by the English ship Swan and the frigate Success upon the crew of the brig Fair Columbian, from Alexandria, freighted on account of the English by Messrs. Pat. terson and Taylor.

It is not then sufficient for the English to purchase a number of ves. sels, which they load with all sorts of provisions, to navigate their vessels under your flag, to carry horses for re-mounting the cavalry, to enrol grooms for this military service; but they must also take by force the American crews in order to make them serve on board their vessels of war, to the ruin of our colonies.

You must be sensible, sir, that simple and ordinary measures are insufficient in such circumstances. We have neither the right nor desire of interfering in your interior administration, but when hostilities are in question, France may request an account of the measures you have taken for putting a stop to them, and repairing the damage they already have caused, or may hereafter do,

Permit me, sir, to repeat to you, they should be prompt and efficacious. Would representations to the Court of London, which, in the course of six months, perhaps might put a stop to these odious attacks, if at the end of that time they are no longer necessary, be sufficient in the existing circumstances ?

The English division in the colonies is entirely recruited by mari. ners taken from on board your vessels. It is by their means that they block up the Republican ports; it is to their succor we ought to attribute the loss of these immense possessions, if the American Government should not take the steps which the duty of neutrality dictates to it.

Accept, sir, &c.


No. 214.


The French Minister to the Secretary of State, dated Philadelphia, 1st

Floreal, 4th year of the French Republic, (April 21, 1796, 0. 8.)

SIR: I had the honor of writing to you on the 9th of last month, relative to the impress exercised on board of your vessels by the English

The Vice Consul at Alexandria announces to me the return of Messrs. Evelitts and Scamman, captains of the schooners Chloe, Anne, and Industry, whose entire crews have been impressed at the Mole.

Twenty-five vessels purchased by Mr. Cavan are still in that port, and recent orders have been given to him for expediting fifty more.

Mr. Kenna, captain of the schooner Freemason, is also arrived from Martinique, where he left twenty vessels, whose crews, as well as his own, have been forcibly carried off.

I do not add a single reflection to my former letter. Mr. Henry Alexander, of Baltimore, in whose favor you requested my intervention with General Rigaud, informs me by letter this moment received, that he is restored to the affections of his family. Accept, sir, the expression of my respect,


No. 215.

The French Minister to the Secretary of State.

PHILADELPHIA, the 29th Floreal, 4th year of the French Republic, (May 18, 1796, 0. 8.) SIR: I have just been informed indirectly, that the House of Representatives has passed a bill for preventing the sale of the prizes which shall be brought in by the ships of war of the belligerent Powers. If this law did not appear to me to destroy the effects of our commercial treaty; if it did not appear to me opposite to the duties of an impartial neutrality, I should remain silent; but the interest of my nation, and the positive orders I have received on the subject from my Government, oblige me at present to transmit some observations which seem to me calculated to merit your attention.

By the 17th and 22d articles of their commercial treaty, the United States and France agree, in an explicit manner, that in case one of

the two Powers should be at war, its enemies should be excluded from the ports of the other, when they shall have made prizes on its citi. zens. When they mutually guarantied a free admission of their sbips of war, of their privateers, and of their respective prizes into these ports, it is clear that they implicitly assured to each other the right of there selling these prizes. In fact, France having no continental possessions in America, towards the latitude to which English ves. sels must go, on their return to England, it was to her of extremo importance to have friendly ports, into which her vessels might conduct their prizes and sell them, without exposing them anew to the risks of the sea; which would be the case if they were obliged to send them to France, or to her colonies. It was also interesting to the Americans engaged in a war with a European Power, to have ports into which they might conduct and freely sell their prizes made upon the coast of Europe, without being forced to cross the Atlantic.

These considerations leave no doubt, that by the 17th and 22d ar. ticles of the treaty concluded between the United States and France, each nation bad implicitly secured to hersell the right of selling, in the ports of the other, the prizes which her ships of war, or privateers, should have made. This right, which the two nations should enjoy, has been acknowledged by our enemies, by the Courts, and by the Government of the United States.

Whenever our enemies have attacked a prize made by a privateer, it has been oply under the pretext that the privateer had been armed in the United States, and that she had therefore derogated from both the laws of neutrality and the President's proclamation.

The American Courts have never condemned French prizes but upon the fact of having armed in the United States; and when the contrary has been fully proved, the privateer bad the right of selling the prizes, without any obstacle. Yet, in virtue of what act could she sell her prize? Of the 22d article of our commercial treaty. This article has already afforded a vast field for discussion upon the implicit right it appears to grant to one of the two nations to arm in the ports of the other. The American Government conceived that this construction could not be given to the 22d article; it explained itself formally in this respect, but did not object to the right of selling prizes; it bas even expressly acknowledgesl it, since it has constantly permitted the French ships of war and privateers to enjoy it.

The enemies of France could not accuse you of violating the rules of neutrality, by leaving to her the free exercise of this right, as it resulted from the casus foederis, and the obligations prescribed by a treaty do not lead a neutral nation from the line of neutrality whenever she acquits herself of them. Therefore, sir, the English cannot for that reason' bring in their prizes here. The Secretary of State assured me in his letter of 6th July, 1795, that this stipulation of our treaty should be faithfully observed in this respect by the Aineri. can Government. Since, notwithstanding a similar right assured to the King of Great Britain by bis treaty with the United States, it is stipulated that it should not derogate from former treaties entered in.

to by the United States. It is clear, therefore, from this, that during the whole course of the present war, we should, in virtue of our treaties, enjoy alone the privilege of bringing in and selling our prizes bere. But if at present a law existed prohibiting in general terms the sale of prizes, it would bear upon France alone; and at the samo time, that it deprived her of an advantage granted by her treaty, it would tend to affect the balance of neutrality.

In fact, sir, French ships of war and privateers having alono the right of bringing in and selling their prizes here, it would be the interest of England, in case she could not procure the same advantage, to deprive France of it: for, to take an advantage from our enemy is a real benefit to us, even though we could not enjoy it. Besides, would not England by that means have new chances in her favor ? if our prizes could no longer be sold in your ports, they must be conducted to the colonies, or to France; and would not the English then have greater opportunities for intercepting them? It is evident, therefore, that the law procured for preventing the sale of prizes, is entirely in favor of the English, and to our disadvantage. But if it be the duty of a neutral nation neither to grant nor' refuse more to one of the belligerent Powers than to another, when there do not exist particular stipulations provided for by treaties previous to the war, it follows, that the law in question being in favor of Great Britain, cannot be conformable to the rules of neutrality,

I venture to hope, that you will feel, as I do, the justness of my observations; and that the Government of the United States will take the necessary measures for preventing the effects of a law contrary to the treaties and to the duties of a neutral nation. Accept Sir, &c.



No. 216.

Secretary of State to the French Minister.


S18: On the 20th I received your letter of the 18th instant, and in answer have the honor to observe, that, although the sale of prizes brought into the ports of the United States by armed vessels of the French Republic, has not bitherto been prohibited, yet it has been regarded by us, not as a right to which the captors were entitled, either by the law of nations or our treaty of amity and commerce with France; the contrary bas been explicitly declared by the Go. vernment of the United States, and assuredly communicated to the French Government in the year 1793, by the minister of the United States at Paris. In the letter of the 16th of August of that year, from Mr. Jefferson, to Mr. Morris, are the following passages :

« ForrigeFortsett »